Daily Recovery: Unlocking Potential

Daily Recovery tools can be used every day after workouts. They are simple, do not take long to complete, and help tremendously for training the next day. Examples of daily recovery include:

            1. Post Workout Cooldown

            2. Contrast Shower

            3. Recovery Meal

            4. Recovery Walk

            5. Sleep

A Post Workout Cool Down is essential to starting the recovery process properly. Bike, Row, or Ski at a conversational pace. Every four to five minutes, sprint for five to ten seconds to flush lactate. Complete this circuit three to four times. After this, move on to foam rolling and stretching the major muscle groups. More focused work can be completed using different mobility tools such as lacrosse balls or muscle roller sticks. I personally own a foam roller, a X-Wing recovery stick, lacrosse ball, and two voodoo bands. All these items are available from www.roguefitness.com. I work on my mobility and flexibility every night before bed. I use a large foam roller first, starting with my lower body and moving my way up. My problem areas are my hamstrings, lower back and IT band. Then, I move to the muscle stick on the problem areas or any other place I feel knots. After the muscle stick, I move to the lacrosse ball on areas hard to reach with the stick. I use my lacrosse ball the most on my arches and upper back.

A contrast shower is a quick way of creating vasoconstriction and vasodilation to squeeze lactate out of the legs and body. This can also be done in a hot tub and cold pool or a normal shower. Take 3-5 minutes on hot and massage the muscles then five full minutes cold to allow for full constriction, this process should be completed three times each.

A recovery meal is similar to any other meal, but it varies depending on what your goal is. For endurance athletes, the key is replacing glycogen quickly. For strength and power athletes, protein is key. As someone who is trying to be fit along the fitness spectrum, I have both carbs and protein in my meal. It looks similar to a normal meal but I prefer mine to be larger in protein and lower in fat. I want to get the quality protein to my digestive system quickly and efficiently. My favorite post workout meal is brown rice, lemon garlic chicken, black beans, carrots, green salsa, and shredded cabbage. All in a mixed bowl with an over easy egg. This should be eaten as soon as possible after training. If a meal is not possible, use a high quality, meal replacement supplement shake or chocolate milk. Carbohydrates are essential post-workout and chocolate milk fits a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. A pure protein shake will not provide the necessary carbohydrates. 

A Recovery walk can be great after training. However, it should be at least four hours after training. It can be as simple as taking the dog for an afternoon or nightly walk. It should be around 30 minutes in duration.

Lastly- all the recovery in the world won’t help if you don’t get enough sleep. Aim for 8-9 hours per night. Your room should be totally dark and cold. Invest in a good pair of blackout curtains to help with outside light leaking in. Most importantly, keep all electronics out of the bedroom. I shut off all electronics an hour before bed, put on some relaxing music and look over my stuff for the next day. I make sure my bag is packed with what I need, my meal prep is complete, and take 30 minutes to do some mobility work and find my sore spots. I wake up early and answer all emails in the morning. I know I said it before, but I cannot stress how important it is to keep electronics out of the bedroom.

Recovery is key to high performance, if you want to be successful, it requires the right training, the right nutrition, and the right recovery. There is no magic pill with training, just hard work. Most injuries I see are not from over training, rather under recovery. 

George Cullen